Windows Media Center and gaming

By k.jacko
Sep 27, 2007
  1. Guys,

    i've been offered a refurbed HP D4196 with the following spec at a good price:
    AMD Athlon 64 X2-CPU 4400+
    2Gb DDR Memory
    WiFi Wireless Networking
    500Gb Hard Disk Drive(2 x 250Gb SATA)
    DVD Drive & DVD-RW Drive
    256Mb nVidea GeForce 7800GTX graphics
    Dual DVI out for Multi-Monitor Support
    9 in 1 Card Reader
    10/100 NIC/Firewire/USB2
    Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 soundcard inc front panel breakout box

    Was thinking of using it as a bedroom media centre, but was wondering if Windows Media Centre OS would reduce gaming performance somewhat. Pretty much the same way Vista has done to a lot of games.

    Any thoughts please?
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    It will be fine. It has a couple extra services running which are easy to disable if you must. I left them running on a media center PC and did just fine gaming. All that HP BS that starts up with the computer is going to hurt you FAR more than the OS itself.
  3. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 493

    There will be no HP BS on it, except bios stuff, as its a barebones rig for me install whatver OS i want. :)

    Never played with Media Center. Seeing as this has a tv tuner, do i just insert a coax aerial cable into the port in the back then to watch tv?
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    Well, if you can put XP MCE on it, which is hopefully what you were wanting to do it will work great. I have an OEM install of MCE (non hped version) and haven't had any problems with it. One little bit of knowledge is that Microsoft didn't think you deserved a mpeg2 codec when you bought their Media Center Edition, so as a result you don't have one, which prevents tv viewing, genius. So it would be nice if you had one of those PowerDVD or WinDVD disks that may have came with a burner you bought at some time. The bad thing is it might not want to install without that drive...

    In any case you can download an mpeg2 codec and it should work just fine. There is a specific piece of software in the MCE that regular XP doesn't have, its just the media center interface. It is incredibly easy to get set up provided you've got the mpeg2 codec installed.

    If you aren't going to put MCE on it you'll need some software like GBPVR, SageTV, or BeyondTV. They are usable, but nowhere near as nice as Microsoft's Media Center.
  5. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 493

    Thanks dude. I've also heard that a lot of folk just use XP home/pro and then install Media Portal from here , which is free open source and they say its great!
    Any opinions on this?
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    Not really. I'm pretty sure it won't be as easy to set up as MCE, but you might have ability to save as divx which would be very nice. I'd recommend XP MCE and then if you want to use Media Portal you shut down 2 MCE services, I forget which 2 they are, but one has to do with scheduling and one has to do with the MC itself. They are pretty obvious by their filenames.
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